WESTFIELD, NJ — There is no surprise the Westfield High School wrestling team has seen success thus far in the 2019-20 season.
According to head coach Glen Kurz, it was to be expected.
“This is a hard-working group of kids who want to succeed,” Kurz said. “They have high goals for themselves and hold themselves to a high standard.”
Westfield has had impressive results early on, defeating Jackson Memorial, Scotch Plains-Fanwood and Gov. Livingston, winning the Delaware Valley tournament and placing seventh at the prestigious Sam Cali Tournament.
“Those results show what we can do when we’re firing on all cylinders,” Kurz stated.
Most recently, the Blue Devils finished second with 233.5 points at the Union County Tournament, only behind Cranford. It was the second straight second-place finish for Westfield. Kurz believes the group could have won the tournament.
“We were definitely disappointed with our finish in the county tournament,” he added. “We wrestled well overall, but we went in expecting to win and didn’t have the team effort we needed. We don’t wrestle for second place. There were a lot of positives to come out of that tournament and I think we’ll pick it up in the second half of the season.”
There were certainly individual accomplishments at the UCT. Westfield senior Luke Hoerle won his fourth county wrestling title, prevailing at 126. Hoerle, who is 14-0, won an 8-5 decision over Scotch Plains-Fanwood’s Brandon Bowles in the championship bout.
Only eight wrestlers have won four county titles in the 45-year history of the tournament. Hoerle won at 120 in 2019, 113 in 2018 and 106 in 2017.
Another winner was senior Luke Scanlan, who pinned Cranford’s Shane Kanterman in 3:24 in the 160-pound final.
“Luke Scanlan is having the senior year we’re expecting him to,” Kurz noted. “He earned his county title through hard work and dedication.”
Junior Jeremy Silber, at 132, is having a strong season as well. He finished as a runner-up in the county tournament. He was pinned by Rahway’s Corey Boss in the championship match at 132.
“He’s one of the toughest kids we’ve had and his losses are going to motivate him,” Kurz added.
Freshmen Ethan Composto and Michael Murphy are having strong first years. Murphy made the final at 145 at the UCT, falling to Gov. Livingston’s Harrison Kelly by a 10-6 decision.
“Murphy finished second in the UCT and I believe he was the best wrestler in the weight class,” Kurz said. “Ethan finished third after losing a close semifinal match to the eventual champion. He’ll get another shot at him next week.”
Kurz mentioned how plenty of wrestlers on the team performed above their seeds in the counties.
“Anthony Ciotta, James McDermott, Jack Price and Will Ricca wrestled well,” the coach explained. “They should be more confident moving forward. Getting consistency from them will be huge for us.”
Johnny Heard (220) and Luke Jacobs (113) were also runner-ups at the county tournament for Westfield.
Jacobs and Quinn Gimblette are both coming off of strong seasons last year for the Blue Devils.
According to Kurz, those two could be in for special seasons.
“Both are excellent wrestlers and have won big matches this year,” he said. “They need to focus on wrestling complete matches, and they’ll be fine. They can wrestle with anybody.”
Westfield has a loaded week, competing against Elizabeth, Union and Summit in a four-day stretch before a quad this weekend at Delaware Valley.